Devious drops and dance floor euphoria at The Warehouse Project

Get the latest from Beat


Devious drops and dance floor euphoria at The Warehouse Project

warehouse project
Photo: Jackson Loria
warehouse project
Photo: Jackson Loria
Photo: Jackson Loria
1 / 3
words by alexandra marcocci

It was even degrees and foggy, a classic Melbourne winter night, but that didn’t stop the excitement for the first-ever edition of The Warehouse Project in the southern hemisphere.

I arrived at PICA and noticed the diverse range of looks from North Face puffers and beanies to cheetah print pants. It was surprisingly laidback, with people enjoying food and conversations under the warm heaters and others taking a ciggy break on the dingy couches.

As I walked into the warehouse sipping on my gin blueberry spritz, I felt instant excitement and was met with a neon light show. The large panoramic stage was lit up with the VIP crowd surrounding rising artist, Paula Tape

Keep up with the latest music news, features, festivals, interviews and reviews here.

Under the rows of pink neon lights, the Argintinian-born, Italian-based Tape dived into her electronic set. Her fusion of house, disco and funk filled the warehouse with a unique and dynamic sound. Yellow flashes lit up the room for her funky groove set. Her electronic drops were perfectly accompanied by a flashing blue light show, creating a euphoric atmosphere.

She crafted her performance, slowing down the track tempo to create anticipation and slowly ramping it up again to an exhilarating drop that was no doubt a crowd-pleaser. The crowd cheered as she handed over to Kelly Lee Owens after closing with a mixed track of a saxophone and violin ensemble.  

Kelly brought the audience a completely different vibe and genre of music with an angelic speech to open. The Welsh artist created feel-good moments among the crowd as friends hugged and lovers kissed. Her tracks featured her own ethereal vocals and detailed production from her self-titled album. Though her opening was slow, the bass picked up along with strobe light effects and sirens. 


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by The Warehouse Project (@whp_mcr)

She ended her set with a moment of praise from the crowd as she jumped onto the DJ set and encouraged the crowd to get involved to amp up her performance. The energy was unmatched, with everyone cheering and singing along. 

The empty spaces in the crowd were shortly filled as HAAi prepared to start her set. Homegrown talent from Karratha in Western Australia, HAAi (Teneil Throssell) comes from a rock background, previously being a part of a number of rock bands before moving to the UK to kickstart her DJ career. She stepped into her element and opened with her remix of Eli Brown’s banger When I Push.   

She opened strong with a hard bass, shifting to an instant energy pick up amongst the crowd. The lasers bounced across the room as heads were bopping to well-known tracks like Kylie Minogue’s Padam Padam. HAAi’s remix brought a completely different vibe, making it edgy while still retaining the romantic essence of Kylie’s vocals. Increasing the bpm created an infectious rhythm that the crowd lost themselves in… Even the security guards couldn’t stop themselves from dancing.   


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Bonobo (@si_bonobo)

What sounded like the thumping of bongo drums slowly built up, adding subtle minor vocals. The beat got faster and then slowed down into a trance while the drums continued and vocals sped up. Bright lights illuminated the crowd as she added more bass.  

Deep house and downtempo tracks, Bonobo was up next to close the night. The seven-time Grammy-nominated artist really came to mix up for his highly anticipated headliner show down under.  

Based in LA, Bonobo has worked alongside massive names like Erykah Badu and Jon Hopkins. In 2020, he launched his dance-focused record label OUTLIER which developed into an international event series, presented in major international cities and for the first time in Melbourne. I got to experience his first-ever edition of OUTLIER x The Warehouse Project.  

He played slower tracks in comparison to all previous DJs, but his music was overall much calmer in comparison to HAAi and Kelly Lee. He began by playing a soft track. He was in his element with the spotlight only on him as he prepared the eager crowd for a light beat drop. 

His music brought a sense of tranquillity which shifted the mood and was a perfect way to end the experience. I watched as the crowd swayed side to side, eyes closed, fully immersed in the energy of the beat. I glanced to my right and witnessed someone waving sparklers in both hands. Sparks were quite literally flying.

That’s when I realised that The Warehouse Project was not just a Manchester party, but a feeling – a community that becomes unified as soon as the beat drops. 

For more on The Warehouse Project, head here.